Where guerilla art meets monkey business.


Directed by Jon Foy

Starring Justin Duerr and Colin Smith

4 stars (out of 4)

This film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival where it won the best directing award. It begins a theatrical run on Sept. 2nd. Screening information can be found at http://www.resurrectdead.com. Currently the film is available across most V.O.D platforms including VUDU, Amazon and ITUNES, and will soon be showing in theaters.

Resurrect Dead is not a flesh-eating zombie flick. It’s more of a film-noir documentary that follows a team of average citizens using their noodles to solve a mystery.

The Toynbee Tiles started appearing in the early 80's. Most people ignored and walked over them without a thought. They appeared most densely in the Philadelphia area, but they have been spotted all over the East coast. If that's not enough to pique your interest, there are also Tiles in South America.  

The Tiles' main message consists of four lines that may change in wording, but are consistent in their message.

TOYNBEE IDEA            Justin Duerr and a Toynbee Tile




Having watched Banksy's "Exit Through The Gift Shop", I assumed this was another guerilla street artist looking to turn a few heads. One man, who stumbled across the Tiles in Philadelphia, wasn't satisfied with making assumptions.  

Artist Justin Duerr became obsessed with the Toynbee Tiles. He started his research by keeping notes on the location of every Tile he found in Philadelphia. Colin Smith and Steve Weinek joined Justin on his quest. One of their first methods of research was doing an internet search at a local public library. They got 0 results. That didn't hurt the trio's ambition however; they remained diligent in their search.

The next step was figuring out the message. Decrypting the main message proved simpler than expected. The Toynbee idea was a reference to Arnold Toynbee, a British Historian who also dabbled in philosophy. In some of his writings he postulated that scientists would eventually be able to reconstruct molecules from dead individuals on the planet Jupiter. The maker of the Tiles believed that this was depicted visually at the end of Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey.  

Along with the main script the Tiles had side notes. These messages were more detailed but just as outlandish. They centered on a conspiracy between media outlets, Jews, and the USSR. The messages claimed that these entities worked together to keep the writer's message from getting spread to the world. The words painted a picture of paranoia. 

I feel fairly certain that skeptics will not accept Toynbee’s idea easily.

The mystery leads our fearless sleuths to places where skepticism is a must. They find themselves at a short wave radio convention where they are following a lead. There is a scene here that is completely unrelated to the Tiles. A presenter at the convention gives a speech and demonstration of thought transference via short wave radio. The psychic DJ projected a panel with four images onto a screen. They were a square, star, circle and some wavy lines. Basically it was a projection of Zener cards, which we all know is the most accurate way to test psychic ability. If Uri Geller says it works, you can take it to the bank. The idea of this "experiment" was for the presenter to choose a symbol and transmit his pick through his radio apparatus. The apparatus was a foil pie plate that he wore like a hat, with an antennae on top, or bottom depending on how you wish to view the pie plate. Though a handful of people raised their hands when each symbol was called out, the plurality of the audience raised their hands at the symbol of wavy lines. The presenter then pulled the symbol that he had chosen out of a sealed envelope revealing that it was indeed the wavy lines. I'm not a magician like James Randi. Hell, I'm not even amazing, but I'm certain there may be other forces at work here.

Other than the radio mishap, the movie puts out a steady vibe of truth. Justin Duerr declares in an intense moment of resolve that these Tiles aren't made by some phantom, there is a real person that is responsible. Though his desire to find that person may be somewhat irrational, his methodology is sound and effective. The movie presents a load of evidence supporting its theories, but at the end it’s still a mystery.

I implore anyone with a desire to watch this film NOT to research the Toynbee Tiles. Seeing the layers being peeled away like an onion is what makes the film so engaging. Be assured, I have only revealed the bare essentials. I am afraid to go any further into detail because this kind of film is at risk of being spoiled. I know most people still don't know that Bruce Willis' character is a ghost in The Sixth Sense. Oh, sorry.


Dusty Wallace is an amateur, but dedicated, film buff from Roanoke, Virginia. As a devout skeptic he has a unique take on films and filmmaking. When he’s not reviewing movies, Dusty writes http://dustyisgodless.blogspot.com and dustyisgodlessmovies.blogspot.com